High School Sports

South Mississippi's future basketball stars on display in MAC all-star game

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD 
 Biloxi's Fred Ramsey-Thompson takes a shot while guarded by Metamora's Noah Persich during the Gulfport Hardwood Holiday Classic on December 29. He was selected to the Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star Game in Clinton on Friday.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD Biloxi's Fred Ramsey-Thompson takes a shot while guarded by Metamora's Noah Persich during the Gulfport Hardwood Holiday Classic on December 29. He was selected to the Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star Game in Clinton on Friday. SUN HERALD

There's a couple of ways to view Friday's Mississippi Association of Coaches all-star basketball games.

One way is to consider the North-South showcases as the bookend on the 2015-16 season -- one that saw a handful of Coast schools make runs to Jackson before ultimately coming up short of the golden ball.

Another way is to consider the games as a way-way-way early glimpse of the 2016-17 season as all 48 standouts are rising seniors.

Either way, the 6 p.m. girls game and 7:30 p.m. boys game at the A.E. Wood Coliseum on Mississippi College's campus are sure to feature some of the Magnolia State's future stars.

"This game means a lot," said West Harrison coach Milton Ray, who is leading the South's boys team. "We have a pretty good group of coaches who are getting to coach some of the best talent in the state.

"We have a lot of great guys in this junior class, both north and south. So many kids who can put the ball in the basket who run and jump."

West Harrison's Quieran Gray and Biloxi's Fred Ramsey-Thompson will represent the Coast on the boy's team, while Pascagoula's Jailin Cherry, D'Iberville's Casey Ferguson and Moss Point's LaMiracle Sims will play in the girls game.

The five standouts were among the Coast's leaders last season.

Gray led West Harrison, averaging 12 points per game while shooting at a 46-percent clip.

"He's a good kid in the open court. He's an open court player," Ray said. "He jumps real high and his mid-range game is probably his best attribute.

"He can really pull up and shoot."

Ramsey-Thompson averaged 14.9 points per game to lead the Indians.

"Fred is probably the best kid on the Coast in the junior class," Ray said. "He's able to shoot the ball from the outside and can go inside and rebound. He's real versatile."

Girls leaders

Ferguson, Sims and Cherry were three of the elite players in the state last season regardless of class.

Ferguson missed several games and still averaged 21 points per game with 10.7 rebounds and 4.1 steals. Sims averaged 15.3 points with 14 rebounds and 2.6 steals. Cherry scored at a 14-point clip with an incredible 19 rebounds, six assists and five steals.

"(Cherry) is probably the most complete guards I have ever coached," Pascagoula coach Carolyn Whitehead said. I've coached some good athletes who have gone to Southern Miss, Arkansas, junior colleges, but they all stood out as a one or two guard or post player, Jailin can run the post, but she can be a one, two or three for you.

Whitehead later added: "She has great range on her shot. Her ball handling is what everybody sees more than anything. Any college coach, the fact she can go left with just as much confidence as right, that's what all the college coaches talk about."

About the all-star games

Friday's schedule will also feature 3-point, free throw and dunk competitions at 5 p.m.

The South girls won last year's showdown 93-84 but trail the all-time series 28-23.

The South's boys lead their all-time series 38-23, but lost last year 91-86.

Both games will be streamed online at FNUTL.com, with Russ Robinson handling the play-by-play and Juanita Ward providing the color commentary.

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